In the rolling countryside of the Montespertoli region of Tuscany resides Guido Gualandi - archaeologist, painter, professor and producer of organic wine & extra virgin olive oil.
After years in the field studying Mesopotamian art and ancient Mediterranean agriculture, Guido established his podere* outside of Florence with a resolute intention - to produce wine and extra virgin olive oil in accordance with the history beneath his feet. Using organic farming methods and 90% renewable energy sources, Guido tends to his 450 olive trees and hectares of vines, hand-picking both alongside friends and family at harvest each year.
Podere Gualandi spans three properties of half a century old olive trees. Each contains a distinct soil type, adding resiliency to Guido’s crop as well as variation to his oil. The sandy, round pebbles of a prehistoric sea shore on one property provide the trees with more minerals and less nutrients, resulting in an elegant, refined oil. The clay and fossils of a former ocean bottom on another property provide more nutrients, resulting in a richer, sweeter oil.
Our connection with Guido stems from a time in our lives many of you are familiar with - when in 2008 the olive oil company led us and our mom on a six-month stint to Florence, Italy. Although teenagers at the time, we developed a deep respect and understanding for the culture around us - especially the obsession with quality olive oil and emphasis on time spent around a table enjoying it. In hindsight, we were also cultivating a deeper respect and understanding within our own household at the time - namely, of our mom's hustle.
After weekdays of Italian lessons and ensuring we took the correct bus routes to school, our mom would typically spend the weekends out - connecting to our balsamic vinegar producers in Modena, spending time with local friends and forging relationships with the many admirable olive cultivators who surround Florence.
On one of these occasions, a friend led her to a podere just outside of the city, nestled in the rolling hillsides of the Montespertoli region. It is here she met Guido Gualandi amongst his organic olive orchards and hectares of vines.